Have Kleenex near at hand; the heartstrings are plucked nonstop in this vintage Steel, her 49th (after The Wedding). Liz Sutherland, wife of the dashing Jack (also her partner in a divorce law practice) and mother of five great kids, is the happiest of women--until tragedy strikes. On Christmas Eve, the estranged husband of a Sutherland client kills his wife, then Jack, then himself. Steel spares us nothing. She knows the anatomy of grief--abhorrence of the unctuous word "arrangements"; the cruel return to consciousness each morning. If the metaphors are clunky (a bowling ball on the heart), so be it; Steel's palpable, contagious sincerity wins readers' empathy. At last Liz laughs again, then, inevitably, loves again. Her new amour is Dr. Bill Webster, and they meet when her oldest child, Peter, is injured in a swimming pool accident. Peter cheers on the new romance, and so does Liz's youngest, the developmentally delayed (and charming) Jamie. Teen daughter Megan and her two younger sisters try to derail the relationship, however, and Megan's sass provides a needed counterpoint to much sunniness. Steel's commitment to her main characters is unimpeachable; minor characters fare less well. Distracted Liz almost runs over a woman who then sends flowers instead of suing--a neat start to a relationship that never happens--and the murderer's orphaned children fall out of the plot with unsettling abruptness. Still, Steel's devoted readers will swallow the story in one gulp. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Liz and Jack Sutherland were a couple who seemed to have everything. Not only to outsiders, but also in reality; they lived and breathed the American Dream: a loving marriage, healthy, well-adjusted children, and a successful legal partnership. Living, loving, and working side by side made their lives complete and fulfilled. Steel (The Long Road Home) has created a moving novel about tragedy in the middle of life and how Liz finds the strength to go on without her husband after a tragic accident on Christmas Day. Faced with five children and only the little blessings to propel her forward, she regains control of her new life with increasing depth and perspective. The House on Hope Street is about the human spirit learning to live again by recognizing the smallest blessings and finding and believing in hope. The audio quality is excellent, and Joseph Siravo's warm tone effectively lends itself to the story's drama. Recommended for popular fiction collections.ÄLeslie Wolf, Univ. at Buffalo Law Lib., NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.